hist-brewing: Newbie Questions

PBLoomis at aol.com PBLoomis at aol.com
Mon Jun 12 10:59:54 PDT 2000


In a message dated 6/12/00 6:38:29 AM Central Daylight Time, 
elspeth.dowglas at scotland.com writes:

> I was told to add corn sugar before I bottle my beer...how about honey?  
will 
> it work the same way?  will the flavoured honeys affect the taste of the 
beer 
> at this point?  I wouldnt mind trying a heather honey if I could get my 
hands 
> on some...any comments?
>  
    Corn sugar (dextrose) is the preferred sugar for priming because it is 
less complex than cane sugar (sucrose) and therefore ferments out completely, 
without changing the sweetness of the beer or adding any flavors of its own.
    I don't know what the sugars in honey are, or how they would ferment, 
but honey would definitely change both the sweetness and the flavor of the 
beer.  Perhaps you would like the result, perhaps not.
    I take it that you are not *really* in Scotland, where heather honey is 
readily available.  Castlemark Honey has heather honey for sale stateside, 
but it's a bit pricey.  You'd only need a couple of pounds, so it might be 
affordable.
    May I recommend an experiment?  Brew five gallons of beer, something
straightforward and not too sweet.  At bottling time, divide the green beer 
into several different portions (a gallon each?), and prime each portion with 
a different ratio of honey to corn sugar, including one with pure honey, and 
one with straight corn sugar.  Label them so you can keep track of which 
is which.  Select a group of guinea pigs ... er ... beer drinking friends, 
and 
hold a series of comparative tastings over a period of a year, as the honey 
ages and mellows.  Have each person rank the five brews and write down 
his/er comments at each tasting.  Let us know the results!
    Any comments/corrections from the more experienced mead/braggot 
makers?
    In joy and service,
    Scotti

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